This Amelia Never Takes Off

Swank shines as Earhart in largely forgettable biopic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2009 7:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hilary Swank is superlative as Amelia Earhart, say critics, but the too-conventional movie around her never really engages in what made the aviatrix tick and stays earthbound as a result.

  • Swank is "strangely mesmerizing as Earhart," writes Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald, but director Mira Nair's biopic "never—unlike the famous aviatrix—takes chances." It's "big-hearted yet by-the-numbers."

  • The audience never sees the "steely force that drives grand ambition, the fears, the flaws," complains Betsy Sharkey at the Los Angeles Times. "Mostly we see Amelia in flight, touching down around the world like a History Channel travelogue, or seeing small slices of her life unfold like a fashion spread, gorgeous but vacuous."
  • At frustratingly infrequent intervals, Mick LaSalle writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, "we get a hint of the movie they wanted to make and hoped they were making: One about the thrill of early aviation and the promise of a young century."